RIM to unveil new BlackBerrys Jan. 30

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Research In Motion said Monday that it will hold an official launch event for its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones on Jan. 30.

The new phones are seen as critical to RIM's survival.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said Monday details on the smartphones and their availability will be announced at the event. RIM said the event will happen simultaneously in multiple countries.

The release comes as the company struggles in North America to hold onto customers who are abandoning BlackBerrys for flashier iPhones and Android phones.

RIM's current software is still focused on email and messaging and is less user-friendly and agile than iPhone or Android. Its attempt at touch screens was a flop, and it lacks the apps that power other smartphones.

RIM is hanging its hopes on the much-delayed BlackBerry 10 software. It is thoroughly redesigned for the touch screen, Internet browsing and apps experience that customers now expect. A full touch-screen device is expected to be released first, followed shortly after by a physical keyboard version.

"A lot of people view the old BlackBerrys as quick messaging devices, and they were excellent for that, whereas the modern day smartphones are more robust full-feature operating systems. They are personal computers in your hand," BGC Financial Partners analyst Colin Gillis said from New York.

Gillis said there remains a loyal business following for BlackBerry.

The new BlackBerrys will be released after the holiday shopping season and well after Apple's launch of the iPhone 5, Apple's biggest product introduction yet.

RIM is also laying off 5,000 employees as part of a bid to save $1 billion.

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